Well--the student died yesterday afternoon. Somehow, after it stopped raining and the sun came out, I knew it. I got a phone call last night from my department head confirming this. It is sad, to say the least. Our principal got on our morning announcements TV show (yes, we have a TV studio in our school--it's quite cool) to announce it, give students permission to leave the class when they felt necessary, and have a moment of silence. Surprisingly, all but one (a very close friend of the victim) of my seniors came to 1st period today. I was amazed at their strength. I said we didn't have to do what I had planned, but they wanted to--and were okay. We read 17th century poems about sex and getting girls. They laughed. It was nice. My other kids were mellow-ish, one was blatantly disrespectful and rude, and the other, the class where I will be teaching the brother of the deceased, well..they are immature freshmen who weren't handling their grief too well, I think, but we talked about it.
At any rate, I feel like the kids are alright today, thanks to some action they took that made them feel better--a vigil last night, passing out white ribbons to wear today--sometimes kids really amaze me. They handled this with such grace and respect. And now I'm done being a downer, because the mattress we won is coming our way! Woo hoo!!
Oh, and thank you for the stories you shared about your personal experiences with loss as a student--they really did help me figure out what I was going to do today.